Ode to Conan

Posted: October 29, 2019 in Current Affairs, Meditations

A tribute to a special friend

I stood at the veterinary clinic counter wallet in hand. “Go home, sir, go straight home. We’re not doing money today.” I nodded and walked out, face quivering, tears streaming down, an emotional wreck. An hour before, I came with my little dog, Conan. I drove away alone. My buddy left me forever. Grief bubbled out. Gasps exploded into sobs. My lament betrayed a love I rarely admitted to.

I never wanted a dog. Conan belonged to my  firstborn son. But John took a job that sent him overseas. Conan now lived with us, the kids’ dog, and especially Mama’s dog. What’s a man to do? I had no alternative and that little ball of fur wormed his way into every crevice of my heart over the course of the next thirteen years. Good days, bad days—they meant nothing to Conan. Every day was a great day for him. Not one moment ever passed without receiving his unconditional love. He asked for little and gave so much. I still grieve. Flash memories haunt me, his last breath, the light departing his eyes. God, I miss him.
I still sort through my emotions, always searching for clues about myself. My mind says, “He’s just a dog.” But my heart knows better. My little buddy affirms fundamental truths. We are created for relationship, to love and be loved. Our pets often point us toward a better way to live. In our selfishness, we can be so volatile, so petty. God meant for us to be so much better. Conan, in an elemental way, points me to God. Trust, faithfulness, selfless love—this is the legacy of my special little friend. Conan, thank you. You are forever in my heart.

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